Stirewalt, Sallie “Ada”

Stirewalt, Ada, Elizabeth College, 1907

Sallie “Ada” Stirewalt, Elizabeth College, 1907.

Stirewalt, Ada, 1908, 1921, 1000

Sallie “Ada” Stirewalt, undated.












Class of 1904
Mont Amoena Director of Music, 1908-1914, 1921-22.

Birth: 30 Jul 1883, Rowan, North Carolina
Death: 24 Dec 1926, Statesville, Iredell, North Carolina

Moses Alexander Stirewalt (1845-1920)
Eleanore Amelia “Ellen” Goodman Stirewalt (1852-1912)

Gustavus Adolphus Stirewalt (1869-1874)
Emma Johanna Stirewalt Bostian (1871-1910)
John Milas Stirewalt (1873-1937)
Maggie Rosetta Stirewalt Fink (1876-1948)
Robert Pierce Stirewalt (1879-1928)
Paul Michael Stirewalt (1881-1932)
Charles Hugh Stirewalt (1885-1964)
Hampton Alexander Stirewalt (1887-1956)
Ella Belle Stirewalt (1889-1908)

Ebenezer Lutheran Church Cemetery
China Grove, Rowan County, North Carolina, USA

Source:, # 117458112.

Unidentified newspaper clipping

Beloved China Grove Woman Is Widely Mourned; Planned for Own Funeral

In her room at Long’s Sanatorium in Statesville on Sunday morning, December 19, Ada Stirewalt was facing an uncertain termination of a pending operation on the following day. Feeling that the operation might be of a serious nature and that there was a possibility of not recovering; in her tender thoughtfulness of loved ones, she planned and wrote out all funeral arrangements, addressing the letter to her constant and faithful brother, Hamp. In sorrow be it recorded that all-too-soon these directions were minutely carried out.

Following the operation for a day or two Ada was cheerful and hopeful – then came alarming symptoms which indicated that in all probability the sojourn with loved ones upon earth was nearing its close. At 2:30 on Friday morning, December 24th Ada Passed out of time unto eternity. All of Christmas day did nature shed tears of sympathy that so precious a treasure had gone from loved ones and from earth. Then came the bright and glorious Sabbath with nature casting off her gloom and sounding notes of joy, hope, comfort, peace, to sorrowing souls. To saddened brothers and sisters and friends of the deceased, she seemed to whisper those words of our Savior, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth,” and to remind of His triumph over the grave on that wonderful Sabbath day of years gone by. Faint hearts, rejoiced, knowing that Ada had gone to be with that risen Lord who hat said, “The maid shall rise again.”

During Christmas day and on Sunday until 2:30 p.m., the hour of the funeral 1,100 relatives and friends visited the Stirewalt home to behold the form and features of her whom to know was but to love. Upon a couch she reclined as in peaceful slumber, until the casket arrived one hour before the funeral. The following direction from Ada had been lovingly carried out:

“I want Helen Misenheimer and Mary Kimball to arrange my hair and dress as they used to do so lovingly and beautifully in happy school days. Use my rose dress that I didn’t get finished.”

After a brief and impressive service at the home, the funeral service was held in St. Mark’s church, of which she was a member. The building was taxed to its capacity, where over 1,000 people were assembled, not even standing room being available – and as many people again not being able to get inside the church.

“Am I a Soldier of the Cross,” was sung as the funeral party were taking their places within the church. The service was conducted as by her request, by Ada’s pastor Rev. C. R. Patterson, who read passages which she had selected and which afforded her strength and comfort and hope: Ps. 46; Is. 53, Matt. 5:13-21, St. John 14:1-15.

According to Ada’s request, prayer was then offered by Dr. J. L. Morgan, president of synod, after which “Jerusalem the Golden,” was sung. The obituary was read by the pastor, he concluding with those beautiful lines, “Roses.” “Peace, Perfect Peace,” was rendered and then a talk was given by Dr. Geo. H. Cox who in Ada’s words “catechized and confirmed men and encouraged me in my music at the age of 12, and who inspired me in the love of good church music.” Dr. Cox told of his first having met Ada at the time  of big….. [clipping partially cut off]

“For flower girls: Alice Brown Ritchie and Josephine Rankin (to lead), then my nieces, one from each family, then my following friends: Elmer Beaver, Eva Peeler, Mrs. Geo. McAllister, Lettie Louise Leonard, Oro Fisher, Mamie Smith, Elizabeth Bostian, Lucy Margaret Harris (to take the place of her sister Mary) Ruth Thom and any other you all would like to add.

“For music use the St. Mark’s choir with the following: Miss Viena Linn, Helen, Mr. Griffith for tenor. Sing ‘Peace, Perfect Peace,’ and ‘Jerusalem the Golden,’ and you please select one. I don’t care for a solo. Have Martha or Kathryn or both to play.

“Have Mrs. J. Brown, Mrs. Shuford, Mrs. Swaringen, Mrs. Hanna, Mrs. Ritchie to helm meet the relatives and guests who come to the home, and other you would like.”

Ada was untiring in her pursuit of knowledge – both literary and musical. After a 4-years’ course in Mont Amoena Seminary at Mt. Pleasant, Ada entered Elizabeth College, Charlotte, from which she graduated. Having taught music for several years, she then took a two years’ advanced course of music at the Cincinnati conservatory. Mrs. Crosby Adams, a wonderful musical genius, who makes her home at Montreat, N. C., has been a great inspiration to Ada for a number of years. Their souls were knit together in the realms of music. We, too, know so well dear Ada’s faithfulness in the home, the church, to her family and to her friends. Ever will the memory of one so pure and true and good, remain fresh and green. Ever will she live in the hearts of those whom she touched. Her influence will go on and on in those whom she instructed and trained in soothing melody. Ada is not dead – only passed into that new life immortal.


From Clarence E. Horton, Jr., and Kathryn L Bridges, eds. Piedmont Neighbors: Historical Sketches of Cabarrus, Stanly, and Southern Rowan Counties from the Pages of Progress Magazine. Concord, NC: Historic Cabarrus, 1999, 241-242:

Following are the memories of Helen Misenheimer, a 1914 graduate of Mont Amoena. She was a music student and teacher, and taught music until she retired…

In order to pay for her schooling and to earn the extra money for the much desired music lessons, Helen lived with and assisted Miss Stirewalt when needed. Having had polio as a child “Miss Ada” was not able to get around without her three wheel tricycle. Helen checked the practice rooms every day for her and ran her errands.


Sallie Ada Stirewalt Tribute
The Parrot, Class of 1927 of Farm Life High School in China Grove, NC
A Service by the  Parent-Teacher Association of the China Grove Schools
Rowan County Public Library, Salisbury, NC

Tonight we honor on which to us has been for a [] an honor. No life such as this could be spent in any community without radiating its genuineness and leaving an uplifting impress for years.

Ada Stirewalt was born near Evenezer Lutheran Church July 30, 1883. Her childhood days were spent there with her family where loving found its response in love. her father, Moses A. Stirewalt (1845-1920) and her mother, Elen Goodman Stirewalt (1852-1912), cherished her in tender affection. Having become paralized at the age of two years she never knew the pleasure of many associations such s children and young people naturally enjoy, but instead of this robbing her of life’s joys and beauty there appeared the effort of intensifying aesthetic tastes.

She spent her early children with her parents, brothers, and sisters, Augustavus (1869-1875), Mrs. H. S. Bostian (1871-1920), Milas, Mrs. F. S. Fink, Robert, Paul, Hugh, Hamp, Ella Belle (1889-1908), until at the age of 17 she entered the Freshman class at Mont Amoena Seminary at Mt. Pleasant. In 1904, she graduated from this institution with the highest attainments in the Classical course. She then entered Elizabeth College of Charlotte from which she graduated in music in 1907. (Here she found her real self, expressing her soul in musical terms).

It was but natural that she would long for others to share her possession and so found an opportunity in the same institution from which she had received her first instruction. For seven years she taught at Mont Amoena Seminary, 13 years at China Grove. Here she imparted the real music, the soul of the teacher, a soul aglow with the Eternal Spirits.

This was a life which constantly found joy in developing, so in 1913 she attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In 1918 and also 1920 she attended the Summer Class of Mrs. Crosby Adams at Montreat where she discovered the true source of Musical Art.

Ada spent her last years in her own town and home. Here she did work that only the coming generation will fully comprehend. Through the youth of her friends and neighbors she developed a lover for the finer arts of life which means a finer life. In her home – in others homes – in the school room – in the children, where her noblest work was done, she always imparted the highest ideals. And when she had finished her work and fell asleep on December 24, there settled upon each of us a deep sorrow that for a reason we must part. But the bright gleam of this wonderful life drove the cloud away and joy abides that with her we have had the pleasure and honor of companionship. Her memory lives today in the lives of her pupils, in the joy shich she gave in her music, her love and tenderness towards her associated friends in her cheerful, beautiful personality, today she lives with her Savior.

Rev. L. A. Thomas